By Loren Sanders
Maybe you’re not a degenerate gambler. But are you really going to let that prevent you from forcing a coworker to call everyone “Hoss” based on the outcome of a sporting event? I’ve worked in a cube for a few years now, and that feels weird to admit. Regardless, it has given me a pretty good perspective on what is socially acceptable within the context of a professional environment.
It has also given me a little insight into what would be considered borderline unacceptable, and, therefore, by default, hilarious stakes for the aforementioned office wager.
Say you’re one of the Alabama 15% and you have an office acquaintance who prefers the Auburn
War Eagle Tigers. Assuming you’re both reasonably confident in your respective teams, who’s to stop you from making a gentleman’s agreement during the Iron Bowl? Hmm… the losing team’s fan required to go in for a one-arm-hug on every handshake at work for the next week? That’ll work.
You know that ridiculous Kentucky basketball fan at work? How much fun would it have been if you had agreed in the preseason to answer all calls using speakerphone if they had gone 40-0? Of course, on the condition that they do the same upon UK inevitably losing.
If you work on a computer for most of the day, you know there’s always fun to be had with email. That one B1G fan in the department who is convinced that the previous seven national titles were a fluke? Maybe you get to pick the quote to replace “Life’s a marathon, not a sprint” in his email signature that takes up three times as much space as the body of every email he’s ever sent. Or maybe it’s the girl in the office who consistently wins the March Madness pool – why not put a little side bet out there requiring the lower finisher to reply all on every email for the entire month of April? There’s always one person who feels required to reply all to each company-wide email, and they’re still here so she should be fine.
Of course your office has the one guy who is a Patriots, Yankees, and Heat fan. You don’t need me to tell you that this individual’s fandom is ridiculous. Assuming they’ve already jumped on the Alabama bandwagon, why not place a friendly wager on the outcome of the national championship game? Loser has to give up their razor for Lent. That applies to the underbeard as well… not just the jawline.
You’re smart enough to know the game doesn’t matter. This type of thing could be applied to college football, the NFL, hockey, the NBA (if you’ve got an office full of NBA fans, I know I don’t have to worry about you wandering into my cube, but maybe those fans do exist). The wagers can be tailored to your office standards. Low cube walls? Require the loser stand to work for a day. Maybe you get to pick the way that individual answers the phone… “Thank you for calling Outkick The Coverage. This is Loren. I’m a genie in a bottle.” Maybe the only thing your coworker can eat at work for a week is various forms of Ramen, which must be microwaved in the break room and carried through the office prior to consumption at his or her desk.
The scale of acceptability varies widely depending on the office. In some offices, an individual could get fired for showing up to work wearing a Scooby Doo costume. Others might frown on official work emails being written in Pig Latin. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never acceptable office behavior to populate the vacant bathroom stall next to one that is already inhabited. Then again, maybe your office is a little more lax. Maybe you could require a coworker to turn in their shoes at 9 am, only to request them back for the drive home (admittedly, that one is inspired by the lady across the aisle from me on this flight walking to the restroom sans shoes). I’m not asking you to risk your employment. If you work for my cable or satellite provider, I’m definitely not asking you to do anything that would delay customer service any longer than already unnecessary.
Recently, our culture has identified a problem with bullying. It’s not hazing if you simply take advantage of the bully’s overconfidence in his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers making a run at the Super Bowl. Maybe he’ll think twice about intimidating the interns if he has to do so wearing an eye patch and a plastic hook.
Is your office awesome? Just increase the awesomeness. Instead of wagering on the loser, perhaps the winner gets to walk out at 5 o’clock each day while the loser plays Chariots of Fire through their computer speakers. I’m not sure how badly a Gatorade tub full of binder clips would hurt if dumped upon one’s head, but it might be worth a shot.
Like your to-do list at work, this list is not inclusive, nor will it all get done. May your wagers be interesting, your stakes be fun, your winners feel victorious, and your losers use exercise balls as office chairs… Or maybe the loser is required to submit an article to Outkick The Coverage’s Bullpen about office wagers. Your pick.